The 80th General Convention will be held in 2022, from July 7 to 14. The Episcopal Church's biggest triennial meeting serves as a focal point for legislative action, networking, and fellowship. The General Convention, the church's main bicameral governing body, divides its power between the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies.
Its duties include the adoption of a three-year churchwide financial plan and hundreds of other resolutions ranging from liturgical modifications to the church's views on a lengthy range of public policy problems, including food poverty and comprehensive immigration reform.
The General Convention to be Moved
Last year, the presiding officers stated, with the support of the Executive Council, that the 80th General Convention will be moved from July 2021 to July 2022 for the major churchwide legislative meeting to be conducted in person in Baltimore as planned.
The presiding officers of the Episcopal Church welcomed other clergy and lay leaders, as well as Episcopalians from all across the church, to an online prayer session on July 17, which was supposed to be the month of the 80th General Convention before the pandemic caused a one-year delay.
The convocation of prayer began with a Native American direction song led by the Rev. Shaneequa Brokenleg, the church's staff officer, for racial reconciliation. Throughout the service, attendees recognized that they and the rest of the church worship on land once home to Indigenous peoples.
While the threat of COVID-19 continues to shape much of the church's work, widespread vaccine availability in the United States has resulted in a substantial decline in daily cases since January, and the numbers have remained low except in regions with poor vaccination rates.
After meeting virtually last month, the Executive Council will go to Maryland in October, while the House of Bishops will assemble in September in St. Louis, Missouri.
Additionally, the extra year allows for more time to prepare for the General Convention. With just a year to go, the prayer service was scheduled for July 17th, the feast day of William White, the first president of the House of Deputies, in 1785 and subsequently the first presiding bishop.
In her opening speech, the president of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, stated, "Thank you, God, for William White's legacy." “William White was the pastor of the church at a period when it was in turmoil and uncertainty. In this time of the pandemic, violence, injustice, and environmental destruction, we, too, are preparing for the General Convention.”
Following the Scripture readings, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry spoke on Paul's first letter to the Corinthian church, which was plagued by internal strife. “The church was splitting and being rent asunder,” Curry said. Paul's advice at the time remains relevant today: “When Jesus and his method of love are not central to our lives, we lose our ways,” Curry said. “We may discover our path as his method of love becomes our way of life. We will discover our soul.”